At 3.6%, the unemployment rate is refreshingly low, but that doesn't mean that people are making enough money at their jobs. Tons of Americans rely on both their full-time jobs and a side hustle to make ends meet.
Balancing two gigs can be enormously stressful, especially if you're also raising young children.
The key is finding a side gig that doesn't feel like work, said Matthew Warzel, CPRW, president of MJW Careers, LLC.
"Something that isn't overly time-consuming, but also worth the amount of income per successful project completion," Warzel said. "An ideal goal to start out with is to first make up any expenses you've incurred from the startup, then focus on small goals. Maybe $1,000 a month...then up to $1,500, $2,000, etc."
And if you're feeling doubtful, remember that no one knows how to hustle like a parent.
"Moms and dads know how to get a task done well and quietly if it's nap time, whether they're a chauffeur, a short-order cook, a house cleaner, a teacher, a budgeter, a personal shopper, a waste-management specialist or a raiser of human beings," said David Attard, digital consultant and web designer at Collectiveray.
Reselling Items Online
"If you like to browse estate sales, you may want to consider reselling the items you find online," said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "You can easily start an Etsy shop to do this through, and although you'll have to make time to take photographs and list the items, overall this is a side hustle that may take less time than others and is relatively hands-off, especially once you get your store established."
To manage this side gig, make a routine of shopping estate sales when the kids are in school or otherwise occupied, and then plan to take pictures and list items either during the day while they're at school.
"Depending on what kinds of items you find and resell, you may be able to make a decent amount of money, as shoppers will enjoy being able to buy vintage or antique items online without having to shop themselves in person," Ramhold said.
And hey, you may just stumble across an obscure item that could make you rich.
"In some states, you can find a gig as a virtual assistant," Ramhold said. "Often this kind of work includes managing someone's schedule and booking trips, creating itineraries, booking meetings and reminding them of said meetings, ordering items, and more tasks like this."
Ramhold finds that being a virtual assistant is preferable to being an in-person assistant because you can do it from home and don't have to do mundane tasks, like pick up coffee or drop off your boss' drycleaning.
Amanda Rush Holmes, CEO and founder of The Virtual Assistant Studio told GOBankingRates that when starting out as a part-time virtual assistant, she generated an extra $1,000-plus a month by working a few hours in the evenings after her children went to bed.
"It is a common sight when heading out on a walk and spotting some discarded furniture pieces," said David Lee, operations manager of Neutypechic, a mirror brand. "These furniture items are [often] in a decent condition and need just a little bit of shapeshifting. You can redecorate or refurbish these furniture pieces by repairing and adding your design element. Several social media accounts hunt down curbside abandoned furniture pieces, flip them, and put them up for sale."
Lee estimates that by restoring and selling old furniture, you can make between $1,500 to $3,000 per month.
Selling Bugs to Pet Stores and Online
Jeff Neal holds down a full-time job and is the sole provider of a family of five. On the side, he manages The Critter Depot, a business of breeding crickets and cockroaches that he then sells to local pet stores and online.
"I got into this because my daughter got a bearded dragon, and I wanted to save money by breeding my own crickets," Neal said. "I ended up with more crickets than I needed, so I started offering them to people on reptile forums. This turned into a steady stream of income, and now I use a portion of my free time to box crickets and roaches and run them to the post office. In a good month, I can earn an extra $1,500 per month."
Selling Crafts & More on Etsy
"Do you enjoy crafting? You can consider selling commissions online," Ramhold said. "Create an example of your project; for example, if you want to knit sweaters, then knit a design you want to sell. Use photos of that item to create the entry in your online store and then let shoppers order from you. Once you have an order, you can create the item for them and then send it off."
Carrie Williams Howe, mom and owner of the Etsy store The Happy Hive, finds that running an Etsy shop is a great way to connect to creative pursuits that otherwise get lost in the mix of full-time work and parenting. Plus, it can be lucrative.
"Etsy sellers make a wide range of income, from a couple of hundred dollars a month up to $10,000, but as a part-time seller, I am happy to make about $750-1000/month on my own terms and with the amount of time that I am able to put into it," Howe said.
Remember to investigate watermarks and other protections so that you can prevent your items from being purchased by one person and then spread online by them, Ramhold cautioned.
"This can be done online or in-person, and you can set your own hours to work around your family's schedule," said Chris Anderson, a teacher and writer. "To get started, you'll need to create a profile on a tutoring platform like Wyzant or Tutor.com. You can typically expect to make $20-$40 per hour tutoring students."
Renting Out Your Car
"Platforms like Turo and GetAround allow you to transform your four wheels into additional cash," said Steve Anderson, CEO of JunkYardNearMe. "Qualifying owners may use the app to determine their vehicle's availability and pricing, then rent it out to drivers as frequently as they like. Both systems give up to $1 million in car insurance and rapid payment. Renting out your vehicle might not only help you recuperate your monthly car payment, but it can also be a terrific method to create passive money."
Anderson found that renting one automobile generates an average annual revenue of $10,516.
"Being a freelance fitness trainer is a great way to stay in touch with your workout routine and earn additional income," said Smriti Tuteja of Yogic-Experience.com. "I am a yoga instructor and take online sessions in the morning before I start working on the tasks associated with my full-time job. Most working professionals work out early in the mornings before they start work, and that makes fitness training a great side gig. It is also easier to attract customers by marketing your lifestyle and showing how you balance work and exercise."
Tuteja makes $15 an hour per student -- and notes that rates depend on your location.
"To start [this] side gig, you must first learn the basics of nutrition and working out and then apply for a certification course," Tuteja said. "Once you have a certification, you can post in community groups and online forums. If you wish to [host] online classes, all you need is a good camera and mic setup and a high-speed internet connection."
"This can be a great side gig for a parent who already works full-time because your schedule can be flexible -- ramp up or down your hours based on what you have going on that day," said Monster career expert Vicki Salemi. "Plus, if you drive near areas that are sure to need a ride such as airports, you're most likely going to ensure your hourly rate plus tips to earn those extra bucks."
Salemi added that apps aren't the only ways to earn -- you can work for a local store and do deliveries as well.
"The median hourly rate is roughly $15 and your monthly income may end up being around $1,200 if you work 20 hours each week," Salemi said.
"A great side gig for a busy parent can be a consultant for businesses, professionals and leaders based on [her] experience and expertise," said Michelle Enjoli, TED speaker and career development expert. "In order to work as a consultant, you need to have demonstrated success or experience in the subject matter you are consulting on. You also need to invest in marketing your services, business tools, and additional resources as needed."
How much you can rake in as a consultant depends on the industry and your credentials, but Enjoli estimates that income can range from a few thousand a month to an unlimited amount, depending on your availability, rates and trade.
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